James Brown passed away early this morning in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 73. During the summer of 1999, I saw James Brown, as he opened the final Woodstock festival. I remember being really excited for it and being really let down. Brown spent most of the show sitting down and really didn't do too much singing as I recall, leaving most of that up to the James Brown Revue. The dissatisfaction at that experience really stopped me from being a big fan of his for a while. Everything changed when the Douchipster passed me a copy of Live at the Apollo (1963). It was my first real introduction to the less funky, more soulful James Brown (I had never heard "Try Me" before, now it's one of my favorite songs by anyone) and it was amazing to hear what one of his shows was supposed to sound like. I still regret that I caught him at a bad time in his performing career, but I can be glad that I caught him at all.
I'd be remiss if I posted all these Christmas songs and left out this one. Although it provided the other kids great teasing material in my younger days, I'll always have a soft spot for the Italian Christmas donkey that shares my first name (and the Douchipster's).
I know I usually have a hard on for anything and everything Phil Spector related, but as much as I enjoy Darlene Love's version of "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)", there's another version that I'll always prefer.
That's right, I'm talking about U2. Maybe Darlene Love can help you celebrate the birth of Christ AND the wall of sound (both equally influential to the world), but the U2 is the band I instantly think of when I hear this song. It's the version I grew up with and it rocks oh so well.
To step in another direction, I'd like to bring up the only christmas song I can think of that contains the word "faggot". I mean, what is Christmas without some alcoholism? Cue Shane MacGowan and his mushmouthed mess of a first verse. Kirsty MacColl balances out his sloppy mess and the result is LOVERLY.
I've liked the Slackers for a long time, but lately I've had an increased appreciation for their vocalist, Mr. Vic Ruggiero. Their track "Come Back, Baby" has been in pretty constant rotation for me as of late. It's not their normal brand of ska, but the simpler acoustic guitar sound really allows Ruggiero's voice to be showcased a bit more. I'm really curious about what his solo stuff sounds like, but I haven't been able to get my hands on any of it. Supposedly it's all bluesy acoustics, but the one song he streams on his myspace is a really dreamy organ based instrumental. Even when he's doing the songs in the Slackers' soul ska, this guy still rules.
Apparently, Pinkerton evolved out of a plan by Rivers Cuomo for a grandiose rock opera album. There's an interesting bit about it at noise to signal. Check out the song "Blast Off!" that they have posted, if you want to hear Rivers through a vocoder. I know I do. Apparently "I just threw out the love of my dreams" was one of the tracks planned for the project, entitled Songs from The Black Hole. Even though Rivers barely sings on this track (replaced by Rachel Haden, older sister of ex-decemberist Petra, sister in law to Jack Black of the D, member of weezer bassist Matt Sharp's side project, the Rentals, oooh what a twisted web), it still sounds very weezer.
Chunks of my life have been devoted to a dislike of Coheed and Cambria. That dude Claudio's voice was just always so unbearably piercing and grating. That being said however, over the past year, I've found myself unable to stop listening to their song "The Suffering". It's just so goddamn catchy and it's time I opened up about it. I know the douchipster agrees.
There hasn't been much talk of More Fish here on the 'box. As much as I'm a big Ghost fanboy, I haven't been too confident about the release. It just seems rushed out for the sake of trying to get Ghostface some numbers for the year, after Fishscale disappointed. However, I think I'm starting to sway my opinion towards thinking that rushed Ghost is better than no Ghost. I mean, Theodore Unit was the product of some Pretty Toney throwaway tracks, and that made for jizzytime in my pants. All I know is, I can't wait for the big publicized beef between G-Unit and the T-Unit.
So I was at work, searching through the computer for some music I could listen to at the desk. Aside from finding a lot of man on man pornography, I came across this Boyz II Men track that I haven't heard in ages, "Water Runs Dry". I really used to like these guys a lot, but as I got older I sort of wrote them off, along with most of the music I liked in grade school. This really is a great track though, Babyface is really doing some nice things with the percussion here.
Apparently they released most of their catalogue in Spanish, but I can't seem to find this song. The title is "No Dejemos que Muere el Amor" and if someone found it for me, I would bestow unlimited favors upon them, both sexual and non-sexual in nature.
Ever since MC Abstract McScroogester's post on how he dislikes most Christmas music, I've been readying myself for a counterattack. Despite being a devout Atheist, I love the hell out of Christmas time. I don't know why, usually I get all uppity about consumerism and blah blah blah, but the lights are just so pretty and I get caught up. So since I love Christmas time and the music so much, this will be the first of several posts on the topic. Today we're going to be taking a look at some non-traditional christmas songs.
Usually the punk rock scene isn't super keen on Christianity, but the Vandals broke through the status quo and recorded Christmas with the Vandals: Oi to the World!. The album includes warm, fireside classics like "Christmas time for my Penis" and "My First X-Mas (As a Woman)". My personal favorite off of the album is the semi-titular track "Oi to the World!". This track tells the tender story of a skinhead who beats up a guy for wearing a turban and their eventual realization that Christmas is about love. Eventually, No Doubt decided to cover "Oi to the World!" for one of the Very Special Christmas compilations and somewhere far away, an angel lost its wings.
Years ago, before I jumped on the anti-dave train, I went to see the Dave Matthews Band up in Albany, about a week before Christmas. When it was time for the encore, mr. Matthews came out all by himself with one subtle blue spot, and sang "Christmas Song". Like I said before, I'm an atheist. In spite of it though, I really like religious music, and this song is definitely on the more religious side of the Christmas music spectrum. This is one of the few examples of a DMB song that doesn't annoy me these days.
To close things up here, we're gonna take a spin back to punk rock for a Christmas song from the ugliest band in Rock and Roll, the Ramones. This one's nice because it's a little break from the uber-cheer we get immersed in this season. Instead, you have Joey Ramone pining for uber-cheer, a little break from an otherwise shitty life. Isn't that what Christmas is all about??? That and Jesus?
So today, I'm strolling around at my job, singing to myself, and thinking about how Wilco created what I think to be the greatest rock and roll song of the post-rock and roll era (Outtasite, Outta Mind). Lo and behold, when I get home and check the news items in my google reader, I see that this guy has posted a whole shitload of unreleased songs from Jeff Tweedy's solo shows and from Wilco shows. I just started listening to this minutes ago, so I don't have much critical anaylsis at this point, just fanboy fawning. So far these ones have grabbed me.
So I came across this Mos Def track on fluxblog where he rocks over the Liquid Swords beat. His verses are pretty solid, but I don't know if I'm sold on this song as a whole. The mushmouthed intro is annoying, since when is Mos getting stained? His choruses are just mumbled/sung reworkings of the Liquid Swords chorus, although I do really like when he starts whistling over the beat at the end. I feel like a schmuck trashing Mos' reworking of the song when I basically praised Jim Jones' freestyle over it, but come on Mos, I hold you up to a higher standard than the Capo.
I'm really not the biggest fan of Christmas. The actual holiday I don't mind, but the buildup sucks. I'm not going to go into a rant about commercialism and exploitation, but lets just say sometimes it's a little too much. I mean, I know the birth of Santa Claus (that's what Christmas is about, right?) is important, but do we need to hear Christmas songs in mid-November? This also makes me dislike most Christmas music. Exceptions include this rocking version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful.
Both Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!!! and Built to Spill have songs where they make reference to someone who looks just like David Bowie. Perhaps they're referring to Steven Spratt of the Splitting Images Lookalike Agency.
So it's never really been a secret that I've long been on Nelly Furtado's figurative jock, even before I saw her from a side profile.
I can actually remember exactly when it started and that would be the 2002 grammys, the only year I really watched the grammys. I wasn't really a big fan of "I'm like a bird", but when she performed it that night, something in it just hit me. It was a great performance, just her and Steve Vai off on a side stage, side by side in one single stationary spotlight. He played his guitar and she sang, that's it. Once I heard her showcased in a minimalistic setting like that, her vocals totally blew me away. Since then her pop songs have become a guilty pleasure of mine, but this latest single, "Say It Right", is really catching on in my head. It just has some kind of quality to it that sounds so familiar to me, yet I can't put my finger on what the hell it is. Maybe it's because it showcases her voice a little bit more than her other recent singles, maybe it's the weird atmospheric "heys" in the beat, I just don't know. Plus the video shows her with her own custom heli-pad. How fucking cool would it be to have your own custom heli-pad?
So after a crime wave of about two weeks, police in Westchester County have apprehended this guy.
The guy's robbed several places right in the general vicinity of my homestead. He'd go into a place with his face obscured by sunglasses, bandages and such, then he'd show them the explosives strapped to his chest, explain that he had AIDS, then ask for all the money in the register. Apparently the alleged bomb on his chest was made up of stick looking things that he claimed to be dynamite. This guy is like something out of an old movie, with his hat, bizzarre bandages, and sticks of dynamite. Seeing as I spend a couple hours a week sitting behind a cash register, this guy's crime wave (surreal or not) kinda worried me. I know there are robberies around here fairly frequently, but a guy running around with explosives strapped to him just worried me a little more.
EDIT:The guy's story is definitely pretty depressing, the more I check up on it. He served like 14 years in sing-sing and elsewhere and was part of a "Rehabilitation Through the Arts" program that let him write, direct, and act. Apparently he wanted his creative output to discourage others from going into crime. He even admitted to the cops that he just had road flares on his chest during the robberies and when he was apprehended, he was only carrying a BB gun.